Faith leaders back Biden in sign that evangelical support for Trump is waning
Photo: Andrew Harnik / AP
More than 1,600 religious leaders in the US have publicly endorsed Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate in next month's presidential election, amid signs that some evangelical voters are turning their backs on Donald Trump.
The Biden endorsements are mainly from Catholics, Evangelicals and Protestants. These include Jerushah Duford, the granddaughter of Billy Graham; Susan Johnson Cook, a former US Ambassador for Religious Freedom; Michael Kinnamon, former general secretary of the National Council of Churches; and Gene Robinson, a former bishop in the Episcopal Church.
"This record-breaking group of supporters shows that President Trump's lack of kindness and decency is stimulating the faith communities and will cost him this election," said Doug Pagitt, executive director of the Christian campaign organization Vote Common Good, which compiled the recommendations.
The organization said the announcement represents the largest group of clergy to endorse a Democratic presidential candidate in modern history.
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"Four years ago, many religious voters decided to look the other way and give Trump a chance, but after witnessing his cruelty and corruption, more and more of them are turning away from the president."
In the 2016 election, over 80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump, and many felt that his promise to make conservative and real-life Supreme Court appointments outweighed unease about his personal conduct. White evangelicals make up about a quarter of the US electorate.
However, some polls suggest that support for Trump is waning among white evangelicals. A poll conducted last month on behalf of Vote Common Good of five major battlefield states found Evangelical and Catholic voters to be 11 points away from Biden.
In July, the Public Religion Research Institute found a seven point drop in white Christian support for Trump. A Fox News poll in August found that 28% of white evangelicals supported Biden, compared to 16% who supported Hillary Clinton in 2016.
A group called Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden said, while disagreeing with the Democratic candidate's stance on abortion, "we believe Joe Biden's policies as a whole are more in line with the biblical ethic of life than Donald Trump's. Therefore ... demand we evangelicals to elect Joe Biden as president. "
Biden, a Catholic who has spoken extensively about how his faith has sustained him during troubled times, hopes to attract undecided Catholic voters with a series of ads broadcast in battlefield states.
Some Catholic bishops have issued statements criticizing Trump's policies. Last month, more than 150 Catholic theologians, activists, and nuns signed an open letter to Catholic voters calling on them to oppose Trump, saying he violated the core values of Catholic social doctrine.
Josh Dickson, Director of Democratic Candidate Engagement for the Democratic Candidate Campaign, responded to Christian leaders' approval of Biden: “The common good values of the Biden-Harris agenda resonate with faith-motivated voters. We know that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are the clear moral choice in this election. We hope that this support will encourage other faith voters to make their values, rather than party affiliation, their main voting criteria this year. "
One of those who publicly support Biden, Ronald Sider, President Emeritus of Evangelicals for Social Action, said, “I urge everyone, especially Evangelicals, to support Joe Biden as President. Poverty, racism, poor health care and climate change are all "pro-life" problems. On these and many other questions, Biden is much closer to the requirements of biblical values than Trump. "
Belinda Bauman, author of Brave Souls: Experiencing the Bold Power of Compassion, said, "In all my years I have never publicly endorsed a candidate. But this year is different - very different. This year we are not facing just one political, but also before a moral decision. "
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